"Fail to prepare, prepare to fail," goes the saying. Happily, concrete pipe manufacturer Interpipe Holdings took heed of this advice and is now benefiting from a text book Accredo software implementation.
The combination of a business savvy customer and a proficient software implementer has given the Waikato-based firm a range of business productivity improvements that reach beyond the boundaries of a standard accounting software implementation.
Interpipe’s company accountant, Sarah Woolerton, says the key to the on-time and on-budget implementation was extensive vendor research and a thoughtful discovery phase.
“We looked around for 10 months prior to settling on Accredo and we teamed up with an implementer that had accounting software experience – one that wasn’t too large to care, nor too small to cope with our demands.”
Interpipe appointed Bryce Gordon, of Taranaki accounting firm Staples Rodway, to step them through the software selection and implementation. He began by offering Interpipe a ‘no obligation’ scoping workshop to help prioritise its key objectives.
Woolerton says this requirements gathering exercise helped eliminate vendors that couldn’t provide the functionality Interpipe needed and fool-proofed her preference to go with Accredo.
“I had considered a wide range of systems – small, mid-tier and ERP solutions. Accredo came out on top because it offered the best balance between function and price. I was also influenced by the fact Accredo had a number of customers operating in the manufacturing and distribution sectors who had attested to their satisfaction with the product in case studies.”
Interpipe didn’t rush into its implementation. Instead, it paused for breath and during the due diligence phase undertook further internal discussions about what effects the new software would have on the business.
Just before the implementation kicked off Gordon staged a second workshop that enabled Woolerton and other Interpipe staff to table their thinking. “The beauty of Accredo is that the software can be tailored to meet your demands, so Bryce was able to accommodate our ideas. Nothing was set in stone. You need flexibility and room to change direction during an implementation.”
Following a successful go-live, Woolerton says everyone within the company is extremely impressed with the software. “It shows you the benefit of good planning. We now have a system that provides us with much more than the expenditure and income functionality of our legacy accounting solution.”
Thanks to Accredo, Interpipe now has sophisticated inventory management, better production planning processes and much tighter control over purchasing. Furthermore, Interpipe has been able to open up new areas of business operation to computer automation and control – and give users an appropriate level of access to the system.
Job Costing module drives production quality improvements
During the pre-implementation workshops Woolerton and Gordon deduced that Accredo’s Job Costing module could be used to better manage the company’s production processes.
“We can now monitor our monthly production schedule with much more precision thanks to Accredo. We can see instantly how our production is running and compare actual quantities against our targeted amounts. The information is much more accurate because it all lives in the system – we no longer have to worry about error-prone spreadsheets. If there are any production anomalies they are much easier to spot and act upon.”
The Job Costing functionality has improved production quality processes and ensures output for each customer is itemized and checked. Woolerton says it is then a simple task to move that across to invoicing.
“Using Accredo we have removed around six data entry steps compared to our old way of doing it. That is a real time-saver because new jobs come in every day. If you can streamline the way information is entered into the system, you reduce the risk of inputting errors and you free people up to work on higher value tasks.”
Over the coming months Woolerton expects to fully delve into the reporting capabilities Accredo offers. “I can already see that forecasting, running second budgets and financial reporting will become a lot easier, because I won’t have to generate information from multiple spreadsheets.”
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